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New Year, New Marathon Training

Written by Amy Miller O'Toole on . Posted in Outdoor Rec and Nature

Amy (in blue) and running buddies on the Stowe Recreation Path.

Well first, Happy New Year! I’ve been working on my resolution, have you? Man, that cold spell sure set me a twitter, -15 degrees is pretty cold. I think I wore more clothes then ever: a pair of pants, tights, sports bra, tank, long sleeve, short sleeve, sweatshirt, neck warmer, hat and ski socks. Brrr. My neck warmer froze in minutes from my breath. But we roughed out a couple of so-so miles before bagging the run.

How were your holidays? A friend Jess gave me a pair of arm warmers for Christmas. I have always wanted to try these, but I felt like only serious runners — people who win races — wear these! I told Jess, thanks for thinking I’m that fast and in the “winners” league, and thanks for the vote of confidence. I asked if now I had to win or maybe even place? She laughed. Nothing like a little friendly camaraderie or push. I’ll try Jess, I’ll try.

One of my favorite runs is the Stowe Rec Path. It’s just so easy, marked on the quarter mile, flat and close to home. But in the winter, its main function is cross-country skiing. Like I’ve said before, I try not to impede or anger motorists, so the Stowe path is perfect. On New Year’s Eve, my friends and I opted to park at the church in Stowe and run out the River Road to Moscow. It was close to five miles. We chatted about what we’d gotten for Christmas gifts. My big gifts were family Bash Badges to Smuggs, tickets for the three of us to Keane at the Flynn and undivided support for the Vermont City Marathon. This gift — support at the marathon — manifests as my friend Tom acting as photographer, Sherpa, driver and general weekly supporter for me and my co-runners. Thanks so much from us all Tom!

Finally finishing our run, we walked up to Frida’s for a salty margarita. Nothing like replacing those electrolytes! What, closed on New Year’s Eve? What are we to do? Well how about Mr. Pickwick’s Pub? This is the best place for a beer. We drank Trapps, lager, stout, and cider. Yum. Mr. Pickwick’s is such a great place and the finale for the Stowe 8 Miler, which is an awesome July race. The finish features beer and ice cream!

While I’ve been running, I’ve started plotting specific marathon training. Jan. 27 was the start. My partners and I are again going to try to balance life and running with the Hal Higdon Novice 2 program. We will up the 19-miler for another 20-miler. But this is the program I used last year and ran a 4:15. I think a whole year of training is worth more than a specific plan. My marathon times are 5:10 (VCM), 4:57 (Green Mountain Marathon five months later), 4:34 (VCM) and 4:15 (VCM). I have done the VCM each of the last three years, and my first, in 2010, was with 10 months of running. I had absolutely no base before that, as in zero running.

I think I am finally getting the hang of this and hope to have much fun training for and running in this year’s VCM.

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